Express Bus Company Case

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MY LORDS, Introduction 1. This is an appeal brought by Miss Sandra Johnson and others (original claimants) against the decision of the Court of Appeal. The action under review is whether the two Respondents, Express Bus Company (EBC) Ltd and Blasts Ltd, were in breach of duty of care to the deceased and injured children. 2. It is worth explaining at the outset of this judgment about the definition of negligence. Negligence is the omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided upon those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, or doing something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do . In order to succeed in claiming negligence, the claimants must show “on the balance of probabilities”…show more content…
As Lord Oaksey pointed out in Bolton v Stone , “an ordinarily careful man does not take precautions against every foreseeable risk. He can, of course, foresee the possibility of many risks, but life would be almost impossible if he were to attempt to take precautions against every risk which he can foresee” . The risk materialising must be weighed against the burden of taking precautions. In light of the decision of the Privy Council in The Wagon Mound (No. 2) , their Lordships stated that a reasonable person would not ignore even a very small risk “If action to eliminate it presented no difficulty, involved no disadvantage and required no expense” . For the two Respondents, the cost of taking precautions such as equipping with snow tires, asking for trailer services, is minimal. Blasts Ltd is expected to ensure that those equipments are placed inside the lorry, and a reasonable and prudent person is expected to use them. I understand that Maxwell may not be able to control the wheel in emergency situation. The case of Ng Chun Pui v Lee Chuen Tat is distinguishable on the fact that the defendant’s coach skidded across the central reservation and collided with a bus traveling in the opposite direction. The skid in Ng’s case was caused by another car cut in without warning, while in the present case the skid was caused by slippery road and the Respondent has total control to prevent it from happening. The next question is, can they justify their breach by the social values they created? As I mentioned earlier in this judgment, Maxwell should drive the coach in lower speed in slippery road. However, per Asquith L.J. pointed out in Daborn v Bath Tramways Motor Co Ltd : “If all the trains in this country were restricted to a speed of five miles an hour, there would be fewer accidents, but our national life would be intolerably slowed down. The purpose to be served, if sufficiently important, justified the assumption of abnormal risk” . Is the purpose of EBC Ltd

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